This soul-warming Minestrone Soup is made with flavorful herbs, tender Italian sausage, your choice of pasta and tons of hearty vegetables. It's easy to make on the stove or in the slow cooker!

Be sure to also try some of our other fan favorite soups like Cheesy Lasagna Soup, Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, and Zuppa Toscana.

A pot full of minestrone soup beside two serving bowls filled with more soup

This Minestrone Soup is Better Than Olive Garden's!

Comfort food comes in many forms, and this hearty minestrone soup is one of our favorites. It has a rich, tomato-y broth that makes each bite a truly blissful experience. Combined with the meat, veggies and pasta, it's a nutrient-dense dish that will fill your belly and make you feel cozy as can be.

There may be a lot of ingredients packed into this soup, but preparing it couldn't be simpler. Whether you cook it on the stove or in the Crock Pot, this easy family dinner idea pleases even the pickiest eaters.

A pot full of homemade minestrone soup with a large ladle inside

What is Minestrone Soup?

Minestrone soup is a traditional Italian appetizer that features beans, greens, onions, carrots, pasta, Parmesan cheese, a tomato-based broth and sometimes, meat.

This version includes Italian sausage to make it sufficient as a meal on its own! Though you could definitely serve smaller portions as an appetizer or side dish if you'd like.

Chopped tomatoes, fresh garlic cloves, Italian sausage and the rest of the ingredients arranged on a kitchen countertop

Recipe Ingredients

One of the best things about soup is how customizable it is. You can load it up with whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand! Here's what I usually toss into this Italian classic. Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.

  • Italian Sausage: Casings removed.
  • White navy beans and red kidney beans: Cannellini, great northern beans, and pinto beans all work well too. Whichever kind you use, rinse and drain them well.
  • Vegetables: Celery, carrots, zucchini, onion, tomato, and garlic are all healthful, wholesome additions to minestrone soup.
  • Beef Broth: I love making this soup with a savory beef broth base, but you can use chicken broth instead if desired.
  • Sugar: Don't worry, this won't make your soup taste sweet – it's only there to enhance the other flavors.
  • Herbs: Dried basil, oregano, dried thyme, dried rosemary, red pepper flakes and bay leaves.
  • Parmesan Rind: This adds wonderful flavor to the broth!
  • Pasta: You can leave out the noodles if you'd like. If you want to include them, I suggest using ditalini, farfalle or shells.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated, to garnish the soup.

Can I Switch Up the Veggies?

Traditional minestrone soup is pretty much alllllll about the vegetables. It is a great clean-out-the-fridge meal because you can use whatever leftover vegetables you have on hand.

Forgotten carrots at the back of the crisper, an extra yellow squash that's hanging out in the fridge, spinach from those giant tubs we all buy with the best intentions to use it all up but that we inevitably struggle to get through, a lonely potato from cold storage. It's all good.

How to Make Minestrone Soup with Italian Sausage

Once you brown the sausage with the onions and garlic, this recipe is just a matter of dumping your ingredients into a pot and letting the soup simmer to perfection. Everything cooks in the same pan!

Brown Sausage: In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the sausage with the onions and garlic over medium heat. Drain any grease that cooks off if necessary.

Add Everything But the Pasta: Add all of the remaining ingredients up through the Parmesan rind (if you have one on hand), and bring the soup to a boil.

Cover & Cook: Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low, then let the soup simmer for 1 hour, stirring it occasionally, until all of the veggies are tender.

Stir in Pasta: Remove the bay leaves and anything that remains of the parmesan rind, then stir in the pasta (if using) during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking so that it can cook through until it's al dente.

Enjoy! Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish each serving with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

A close-up shot of a ladle scooping out some minestrone soup from the pot

Can I Make This Soup Ahead of Time?

To make your minestrone soup in advance, do not add the pasta. Let the completed soup cool, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge. If you cook and store the soup with pasta, the noodles will absorb liquid in the fridge and expand, soaking up the soupy broth.

When you're ready to enjoy your soup, cook the pasta by itself until it's al dente, adding a pinch of salt to the water for flavor. Drain the pasta, reheat each serving of soup in the microwave, then add in the noodles and serve!

You can also cook the soup and noodles separately, then store them each in their own containers in the fridge. Then when you're ready to eat some soup you can just spoon some of the cooked pasta into your bowl and reheat everything together in the microwave.

A bowl of minestrone soup on top of a plate with a wicker placemat underneath it

Tips for Success

Although this is an easy recipe, it never hurts to have a few tips up your sleeve! Here's what I recommend for the best bowl of minestrone:

  • Drain the Sausage Grease: After you brown the sausage, you'll want to drain out any grease that it releases during the cooking the process. Simply scoop it out with a soup spoon and carry on (never pour hot grease down the drain).
  • Cook the Soup Covered: If you leave your soup uncovered while it's simmering, too much liquid will evaporate. Keep it covered to achieve the proper consistency and the best flavor.
  • Add the Pasta Toward the End: If you add the pasta to your soup at the beginning of the cooking process, it will become mushy by the end. Toss it in after the soup has been simmering for 40-45 minutes, then cook the pasta for the amount of time indicated on the package.
An overhead shot of a bowl of minestrone soup beside a white dishtowel

Add-Ins & Variation Ideas

There are plenty of different ways you could go about this recipe. Let's discuss some variation options and add-in ideas.

  • Cook it in the Crock Pot: Brown the sausage as usual, then load up your slow cooker with everything but the zucchini, beans and pasta. Cook the soup on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Stir in the beans, zucchini and pasta during the last 30-35 minutes of cooking.
  • Add More Vegetables: Green beans, yellow squash, butternut squash and spinach also taste amazing in this soup. I've also been known to add thinly sliced cabbage or even a spoonful of pesto. Just remember to add softer veggies toward the end of the cook time so they don't turn to mush.
  • Make Vegetarian Minestrone Soup: Omit the sausage and replace the beef broth with vegetable broth. Now you've got a vegetarian masterpiece!
Two bowls of minestrone soup with the remaining soup in a nearby pot

Serving Suggestions

We love enjoying our minestrone soup with some crusty artisan-style bread, dipping it into that sumptuous broth for good measure. Heaven!

This soup also tastes amazing with these Cheesy Garlic Mozzarella Swirl Rolls. Or, if you're looking for something light and fresh, you can't go wrong with a simple Caprese Salad.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Leftover soup should be refrigerated in an airtight container after it has fully cooled. Enjoy it within 4 days for the best results. Keep in mind that the longer it sits, the softer the pasta will get if you store your soup with the noodles.

You can reheat your soup over a low-heat stove or pop individual servings into the microwave. Your call! I do recommend covering your bowl with a microwave safe cover when reheating in the microwave. Pause halfway through and give everything a good stir to make sure your soup warms evenly.

Can I Freeze This?

Yes – transfer the cooled soup to a freezer-safe container, leaving at least 2 inches of free space at the top to allow for expansion. Frozen minestrone soup will last for up to 2 months. Thaw it out in the fridge overnight before you reheat it.

Two bowls of soup beside two slices of toast and a dish full of coarse sea salt

More Comforting Soup Recipes

Need some more cozy soups to get you through the winter? I've got you covered.

Easy Minestrone Soup

5 from 15 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
This soul-warming Minestrone Soup is made with flavorful herbs, tender Italian sausage, your choice of pasta and tons of hearty vegetables. It's easy to make on the stove or in the slow cooker!

Equipment

  • Stove
  • Slow Cooker

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage casings removed
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounces white navy, cannellini, or great northern beans rinsed and drained
  • 15 ounces red kidney or pinto beans rinsed and drained
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and diced
  • 2 small zucchini quartered and chopped (about 1 ½ to 2 cups)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Parmesan rind
  • 1 ⅓ cups pasta optional - ditalini, farfalle or shells
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot or dutch oven, brown the sausage with the onions and garlic over medium heat.  Drain any grease that cooks off, if necessary. 
  • Add all remaining ingredients up through the Parmesan rind (if you have one on hand), and bring the soup to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat to low, then simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until all of the veggies are tender.  
  • Remove the bay leaves and anything that remains of the Parmesan rind and stir in the pasta, if using, during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking so that it can cook through until al dente.
  • Serve with crusty bread and freshly grated Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top.

Notes

  • Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites.  
  • Slow Cooker Method: Brown the sausage as usual, then add everything except for the zucchini, beans and pasta to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Stir in the beans, zucchini and pasta for the last 20-25 minutes of cooking. 
  • Storage: Refrigerate cooled soup in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Keep in mind that the longer it sits, the softer the pasta will get.
  • Reheating: Warm soup over a low-heat stove or pop individual servings into the microwave.
  • Freezing: Transfer cooled soup to a freezer-safe container, leaving at least 2 inches of free space at the top to allow for expansion. Frozen minestrone soup will last for up to 2 months. Thaw it out in the fridge overnight before reheating.

Nutrition

Calories: 226kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 959mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

This post was originally published in February 2018. The photos and content were updated in April, 2022.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. 5 stars
    Every time I see Minestrone, I am reminded that it's one of my favorite soups! It's got a good amount of veggies, it has sausage and it's just plain yummy! Thank you for making this soup!!!

  2. 5 stars
    Like you, I love soups on these cold, wintry, days. They are perfect. I have everything that it takes to make this, but I think I will cook the sausage, onions, and garlic the night before and then throw everything, except the pasta, into my crockpot in the morning, so dinner will be ready and waiting for me when I come home tomorrow evening. This is a great recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Soup is just perfect for this weather. I have a thing for minestrone soup recipes, and this one might just be the best I've seen!

  4. 5 stars
    One of my absolute favorite soups. Mom made it all the time - now my kids love it as much too. This looks so darn delicious!!

  5. Standard minestrone has never really "done it" for me - I think all this time I was missing sausage! Ha! This looks like such a cozy bowl 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Oh yum this looks so delicious! I'm always looking for new soup recipes, especially with this stupid winter weather that won't go away. Definitely pinning this one

  7. 5 stars
    I love a good minestrone, and especially love that you've included crock pot directions here, as I've been trying to make more use of mine these last couple months of winter! Such a delicious soup!

  8. Minestrone is definitely All About the vegetables! In fact, most versions I've made have been vegetarian - but that sausage sounds like a terrific addition. I'll have to try it!

  9. 5 stars
    For us the winters have somehow forgotten to go! It is -19ºC here and all I can think of is snuggling in a blanket with a bowl of soup! Your recipe looks so delicious and healthy. I will skip the sausages but I'm sure with so many vegetables, no one will miss the meat!

    Thanks for sharing

  10. I'm a huge fan of minestrone! The combo of beans, veggies, canned tomatoes, broth and pasta sounds incredibly comforting. Perfect for a chilly day!

  11. Minestrone is a family favorite but I've never made it from scratch. I'll definitely have to give this a try!

  12. This soup was great!  Had chicken Italian sausages and couldn’t get the casing off...sliced them into rounds and it worked wonderfully.  Next time I’ll substitute in Rotel tomatoes because sometimes I like spicy minestrone.  Thanks for this recipe!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this soup, Tricia! I like the idea of adding some heat to the minestrone! A pinch of red pepper flakes might do the trick as well!